Srinagar: Fresh snowfall disrupted normal life in the valley on Tuesday, forcing cancellation of all flights to Srinagar while the traffic on arterial Srinagar-Jammu highway remained affected for several hours in the day.
Commuters complained of hardship, especially in the afternoon because fearing blockage of roads, passenger transport vehicles went off roads early in the day.
Director Srinagar Airport Sharad Kumar said operation of flights scheduled for Wednesday will be subject to weather condition.
Several roads connecting villages in north Kashmir, which was covered with more than 1 foot of snow, were closed even as the government claimed to have made snow clearance machines operational in district headquarters.
The regional meteorological department had predicted heavy snowfall for three days beginning Tuesday, prompting the government to make arrangements for dealing with the situation.
Senior superintendent of police (Traffic) Fayaz Ahmad Lone told Kashmir Reader that traffic was allowed from Srinagar to Jammu on the 300km road.
“The highway was closed in the afternoon following heavy snowfall. Vehicles from Jammu to Srinagar would be allowed to ply only if weather permits,” he said.
An official of the state meteorological department said that the moderate to heavy rain and snowfall would occur at most of the places across the state during the next 24 hours.
He said the Srinagar recorded minus 0.6 degree Celsius of minimum and 2.2 degree Celsius of maximum temperature, received 5.6 mm of rainfall while as famous tourist resort Gulmarg in north Kashmir’s Baramulla district received 12 inches of fresh snowfall on Tuesday.
The official said that due to slush (snow which partially melts upon touching the ground) type of snowfall, the Met department wasn’t able to calculate the actual snowfall at most of the places across the state.
Snowfall also affected normal life in Drass, Batalik and Tai Sur areas of Chiktan and Kargil district where all major and minor roads were blocked disrupting routine moment of people. The mercury nosedived to minus 8.4 degrees Celsius in Kargil.
Divisional commissioner Kashmir Baseer Ahmad Khan said they have set up control rooms at district headquarters, tehsil and regional offices. He said that holiday leaves of all the employees have also been cancelled following the heavy snowfall.
“All essential utilities such as R&B, consumers’ affairs department, mechanical engineering department, health, Power department are ready to cater to public grievances,” Khan said.
He said apart from 129 snow clearance machines of mechanical engineering department, 300 snow clearance machines from R&B and SMC would be pressed into service to clear roads in view of the more predictions of snowfall.
Essential commodities such as ration, fuel and cooking gas have also been stocked up to meet any eventuality, Khan said.
An official handout said, “There is forecast of widespread rain and snow with isolated and fairly widespread heavy snowfall on January 25, widespread rain and snow with scattered heavy falls on January 26, and fairly widespread to isolated rain and snow from January 27-28.”
In view of prediction of snowfall, examinations conducted by Kashmir University scheduled up to January 26 have been postponed. Fresh dates for the deferred examinations would be notified separately.